Friday, April 18, 2014

The inner teaching of Easter

My thinking about Easter, and this time of crucifixion and resurrection, changed radically when I began to read the more mystical and esoteric interpretations of the life of the Great Master known as Jesus. The teachings of White Eagle resonated deeply with my belief that we are eternal beings of Light on a journey of unfolding ever more Light, and bringing it into the world; that our sole/soul journey is to be in ever greater states of that Light, pouring it forth through a heart connected to its Source (which is Love), in every moment.

Image by artist Bruce Harman
The Master Jesus was a perfected instrument for this Great Light; and he blessed the world not only with his teachings, but with his presence and example of BEING this Light, of allowing it to flow through him; and in so doing, demonstrated the ultimate power of this Light, which is to overcome "death".

This is truly a very sacred time, a reminder that though we may suffer (or feel crucified), within that too is the seed for re-birth and ever-greater manifestation of the Light.

Blessings to all,

From White Eagle: 'We wish we could express in earthly words more of the inner significance of the life of the master Jesus. So little is really understood of the inner meaning and the power of that incarnation of the Great White Light - we are speaking not just of Jesus the Nazarene, but the LIGHT which flooded his being and used his physical form. This is the eternal in which you will learn to live in full consciousness; and Easter is the demonstration to all people of the inability of people to destroy God's life. However much they try to destroy life it just rises again like the phoenix. There is no death and life cannot be destroyed. This is a most important truth for everyone to absorb into their consciousness. We ask you to meditate on this and as you meditate to remember how you are linked on that higher level of consciousness with the eternal and infinite light, the Son of God, the Sun.'

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Our presence is often enough...

She walked into the bookstore just as I had finished setting up for the book signing. From the conversation that was easily overheard by everyone in this tiny community bookstore, it was clear that she was a student from China who was temporarily studying in Ottawa. What stood out about her, however, was the tension that she exuded; from her high-pitched, slightly-nervous voice, to her awkward gestures, rapid-fire questions and uncertain glances, this lovely, young woman was harbouring some deep pain.

I'm not even sure how I got pulled into the conversation she was having with the salesclerk, but before long, she was revealing her frustrations to me, her unhappiness with her studies, her anger at her father for not allowing her to choose the life she wanted to live, and so much more.... I barely had time to respond, and even when I could offer a comment, she continued to speak, in what was clearly a torrent of words and emotions that had too long been contained.   

A Cosmic Embrace (Source:
So, I stood in the middle of the store, and listened, as she unburdened her soul. I breathed deeply, anchoring myself in my heart, allowing that energy to fill the space between us. And as the flow of words eased and her manner relaxed, her tears began to flow. I reached over and embraced her, saying very little, only reassuring her that she would find her way, but keeping the energy flowing. When she finally let go, she seemed in a daze, but infinitely more at ease. She asked me to recommend some self-help books, which I did, encouraging her to follow her instincts in choosing the ones that most spoke to her.

I didn't sell a single book that day, but in speaking with the salesclerk after, we both couldn't help but reflect that the true purpose of my being there that day had nothing to do with signing books; that at times we are brought to places to fulfill a role that goes beyond our preconceived plans, and to be, for that moment in time, the instrument though which the Universe brings forth the healing and love that will serve another in their journey.

All we need to do is show up, and open our hearts.

The Universe will take care of the rest.

Our presence is enough.



Monday, January 13, 2014

When we lift another...

The other day, I watched the following KarmaTube video:

Video from KarmaTube

It is the touching story of a high school football team who, unbeknownst to their coach, organize a very special play on the field. Although they control the ball and are clear to score a touchdown, they stop at the 1-yard line.

I have to spoil the video to explain why they do this: to give one of their teammates, who has a learning disability and who has never scored a touchdown, the opportunity to do so. They form a protective barrier around him at the 1-yard line as he runs across the goal line and scores his first touchdown.

Aside from the incredible act of compassion and love, what caught my attention was the name of the team: the Olivet Eagles. Now, olive trees (tree of peace) and eagles (my totem) hold a special place in my heart, so whenever I see them, especially together, I pay attention. 

I watched the video several times to see if there was a message for me. The Eagles could have easily scored that touchdown themselves. They were at the goal line, their success guaranteed and within reach; but, rather than scoring, they decided to lift another, to give the glory to another, and in so doing, forever changing their lives and the life of the other.

That's a very powerful message. Rather than see others as a hindrance, or perhaps even competition, to my goals, if I conspired to help them succeed -- even though I am already at the goal line and don't need to look back or think of anyone's success but my own -- then not only have I assured my success but theirs as well.

I have then acted from a place of love rather than fear.

I am one step closer to the world of cooperation and reconciliation that I envision.

In lifting another, I have lifted myself.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year!

May your lives be filled with the love, light and magic of the season always!

Our best wishes to you all,
~Mony, Alberto and Sylvana

Monday, September 30, 2013

More International Accolades for Books by Ottawa Authors | PRLog

We are thrilled with this latest recognition from the "Latino Books into Movies Awards". Our book won in the category of Action/Adventure for best book to be made into a movie. Full details are in this press release.

More International Accolades for Books by Ottawa Authors | PRLog

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Driving the Camino - is it still pilgrimage?

I will readily admit that I’m a stickler for being on time. I don’t mind if others are late, but I need to be on time. When we make plans to leave at a certain hour, to me, we are leaving at that time, give or take fifteen minutes. That was why surrender and trust were so difficult for me initially on the Camino and, later, on our walking pilgrimage to Jerusalem. With time and persistence, I have learned to follow my own inner callings and the omens that have presented themselves to me, trusting that I will always arrive at the perfect time - which is not necessarily my time. And despite my many failings in applying this day-to-day, I continue to commit myself to the effort.

Alberto and I had decided to drive the Camino frances, leaving copies of our Spanish book, along with bookmarks, in all the major albergues along the way. Our plan was to leave at 10:00AM, along the Spanish route 66 (the Via de la Plata) to Salamanca.  
So, you can imagine how I was feeling when it was close to 11:00AM and the car was still not packed. As hard as I tried to remind myself to simply let go of my need to be on time, I couldn’t, and only grew more agitated. It didn’t help matters that I felt that I was running around preparing everything while Alberto was on the computer doing I didn’t know what... but it didn’t matter, because he wasn’t helping me!
One sarcastic comment brought out another, and the next thing we knew, we were arguing. Alberto and I generally don’t argue, but this time, it got heated and fast. At least we had the wits to each step away to regain their composure. We quietly packed up the car and drove to the gas station in icy silence. With tank filled and coffee in hand, we were ready to start. When I glanced at the time, it was 11:11AM. I finally paused, and took a deep breath, acknowledging this tap on the shoulder I was receiving from the heavens. The first element of any pilgrimage is letting go of control, and being in flow with the rhythm of the Camino. Even though we were in a car, we were still along a sacred route, and all such routes are walked with open minds, and even more open, hearts.
In the moment I realized this and surrendered, everything flowed. We had no plans, no agenda, no hotel rooms booked. We didn’t know exactly where we were going, just that we were on the Way, and that our task now was to be present, and attentive to our intuition and surroundings.

Our first stop was historic, spectacular Salamanca. Alberto had gone to high school there, in a residence that prepared young men for seminary. He never made it to seminary, but the city clearly had woven its spell, as he showed us all the places he had known, including his residence. We walked streets forged by history, and entered monuments that testified to the balance of the minds and hearts that created them. We enjoyed too many pintxos. We followed the yellow arrows and Camino shells near the Cathedral, and found the albergue, the pilgrim shelter, open to those pilgrims braving the July heat to make it here. We introduced Sylvana to the pilgrim world here, trying to make real for her the many stories we had told her of our adventures along it.
We continued eastwards towards Roncesvalles, stopping first in Viloria de Rioja to visit our pilgrim friends Acacio and Orietta. Even in car, it was hard not to be mesmerized by the scenery: the rolling fields, the lush landscape, the medieval towns that peeked out from the hillside, or the endless Roman bridges that we crossed. The modern and the ancient in perfect harmony. 
As we drove, we tried to paint a picture for Sylvana of pilgrims in ancient times, walking long distances, following a calling to see the tomb of the apostle St. James in Santiago (or, in the case of prisoners, to have their sentences commuted). There were no yellow arrows then, no well-marked paths. There was the danger of being robbed, even killed, by bandits. For this, we explained, the Templars (as exemplified by Tomas in Manjarin) began accompanying pilgrims and building refugios (or refuge) along the way. Some pilgrims became very ill or infested with disease, and could not continue. For this, the hospitals were built, and the hospitaleros tended to the sick and ailing, not only in body, but in spirit as well. Perhaps, the pilgrims found love along the way, and decided to settle in one place rather than continue walking. For these, and so many more reasons, many pilgrims never made it to Santiago. That was why la Puerta del Perdon in Villafranca del Bierzo was so important because if they could make it here, it was as if they had made it to Santiago.

We walked the medieval bridges and entered the castle walls. She donned a knight’s helmet and carried a sword. She met pilgrims and hospitaleros, young and old, speaking languages indistinguishable from her own, and yet united in a spirit that propelled them to pilgrimage. She shared a pilgrim meal in more than one refugio, and slept among them in Viloria de Rioja, witnessing the daily ritual of pilgrimage. She began to wish complete strangers a buen camino, even though watching her mom yelling it from the car to passing pilgrims was “just so embarrassing”! 
Despite her resistance and complaints, we know we touched her. At nine years old, she will never admit to this, of course, since her parents cannot possibly be so cool. But, one night, still in deep sleep, she called out my name and only said, “Mom, adventures really are a lot of fun,” before giving me an angelic smile and falling back to sleep. I couldn’t agree more.
* ~* ~ *
The Way of the Sword, as the Camino is known, also wielded its power, revealing a wound that I had not realized still existed. And it chose Sylvana as the teacher.

Our daughter, like her parents, loves her food. At times, it feels as if she’s inhaling it all without even tasting it. And as we ate in restaurants every day, and watched all our waistlines expand, we began to once again enforce some limits, cutting back on ice cream and dessert, while controlling portion size – for all of us. Her resistance was great, with every meal an ordeal for all.

Since I believe that every experience in my reality is there for my own healing, I began to consistently clean my own energy around this issue using Ho’oponopono, which I’ve written about before. This kind of work brings out many emotions. One night, I confessed to Sylvana that when I was her age (and into my adolescent years), my parents restricted my food too, and kept telling me not to eat so much because I was getting fat. I grew up very conscious of my body and weight, never quite accepting it, let alone loving it. I told her that my deepest fear was that she would grow up, like me, having a poor body image, not loving herself or her body, and trying to change it into some ideal that could never be. In speaking those words to her, I felt as if it was my own inner child speaking of her pain, making itself visible to me through this experience with Sylvana, so that I may heal it. I felt as the child in that situation, and she the adult as she patiently and intently listened to me.
“Mom, I’m sorry that your parents treated you that way,” she lovingly said, touching my hand. “But I promise you that I love my body and will never look at it in that way.”
Something lifted in me then, a deep unburdening of a heaviness that I never even realized I carried. Now, back in Canada, we are also back to our healthier meals. We still get resistance, but our energy around it is very different. We respond from a place of love, rather than frustration. We are more patient rather than militant in our approach. Because I see myself in her, I speak and act from a more compassionate place than ever before. I don’t do it perfectly, and I slip up often because I don’t want to handle the arguments... but every day, I get better at responding from that new place and, with ever greater love, guiding her towards choices that hopefully feed not only her body, but that nourish her soul.
* ~* ~ *

The closer we got to Santiago, the more that we began to see larger groups of pilgrims, mostly students and young adults; and to better understand why some hospitaleros consider them “tourigrinos”, and the Camino a cheap vacation for many. It is true that there are more private hostels, restaurants and services than ever before for the pilgrim. And that there are many cyclists and pilgrims with only a limited time who want to hurry through the Camino to get to Santiago.

This, of course, brings up the question of what is an “authentic” pilgrim, and what makes a pilgrimage a true spiritual quest rather than simply a hike, or a cultural or culinary adventure? Does our driving the Camino make it less of a quest for expansion or reconnection?
Source: unknown

The moment I let go of my need to control being on time, I felt we were on pilgrimage. We were present, in tune with our surroundings, following omens or wisps of intuition, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Way rather than by our ideas or plans. If we believe that there is a special energy on this path, an energy drawn from the stars, that has led pilgrims since time immemorial to follow this path -- a path of continual death and rebirth -- to its ending point in Finisterre, the end of the world, then why should this energy be any different to those who walk, bike, drive or take the train? This path traced by the stars was there long before the first pilgrim walked it, or even perceived it...and will be there long after the last pilgrim takes her last step there.
Perhaps being in rapid motion, such as when driving or biking, doesn’t necessarily attune you to the Camino’s energy; perhaps it doesn’t give your body, your soul, time to connect with the soul of the Camino at a profound level. But I am convinced that the Camino is continually transmitting its energy, sharing its wisdom with all those who have spiritual ears to hear and open hearts to receive. The transmitter is perhaps stronger than the receiver, but that doesn’t mean the receiver is getting nothing at all.
What’s at play, it seems to me, is our expectations of what it takes to be a “perfect pilgrim". But isn’t that true of all expectations? I don’t think the Camino cares which way the pilgrim chooses to experience it. To walk the Camino is to walk the path of your life. To open yourself to the unexpected, to the gifts showered upon us by a loving Universe. Those are the steps that build the camino of our lives. We get to practice them more intensely on the Spanish Camino. We get to receive these gifts at a deep, spiritual level, so that we may live them more easily in our daily lives.

This is not an energy that dissipates with time, either. It is like the sun. Just because we don’t appreciate its power, or its gifts of illumination and transformation, it doesn’t stop shining or shine less brilliantly. The same with the Camino.
Those who dedicate their lives to the Camino are, to me, expressing their love for the Camino, for its gifts rendered. Yes, they are outwardly serving the pilgrims who walk it, but inwardly I believe that they serve a greater master. They serve this beautiful energy which animates and gives life to the Camino. Their work, their service, their offerings, is their ode to the Camino, their expression of love and gratitude.
And so long as the love given and received is in celebration of this energy that permeates the Camino and makes it what it is... little does it matter what kind of pilgrim walks it or how they choose to experience it. Those who serve, are serving the Master in the Heart, the one who is communion with the Soul and Energy of the Camino, the one who manifests and expresses Its Essence through loving service to others. There is no greater calling than to be of service to Love, and those who dedicate their lives to this path hold my deepest thanks.

* ~* ~ *

Finally, it is said that we all find romance on the Camino. My romance didn't exactly happen on the Camino, but its seeds were planted there. In Finisterre, in fact, at the end of the world. There, for one afternoon, sitting on a boulder overlooking the Atlantic, I met a Spanish pilgrim named Alberto. I didn't speak Spanish. He didn't speak English. I explained to him, through an interpreter friend, about my plans to walk to Jerusalem. He congratulated me, and then we each went our separate ways.

Nothing could have prepared me for seeing him again, four months later, as I was making my way to Rome to begin walking. He would later join me on my walk, and the rest.... well, that story fills an entire book! :-)

We could not help but stop in Finisterre to end this pilgrimage by car, and take a few moments to appreciate this great gift that the Camino had granted us. On a day brimming with rain and pilgrims, we chose a boulder and sat to contemplate the infinite horizon. When Alberto took my hand in his, I knew exactly the words that I wanted to say. They flowed from my heart, and spilled out in tears of gratitude that mingled with Alberto's. We gave thanks for the ten years of marriage, and the many more to come. It was a magical moment to end a truly unforgettable pilgrimage.

Buen camino!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflections on 9/11

This day forever changed the world in which we live. For me, it inspired a walk, a journey as much inner as it was outer, to Jerusalem. On that day, I was filled with trepidation and fear. They walked alongside me, often taunting the futility of doing such a walk, or ridiculing the idea of working on the inner planes to create peace. But alongside me also walked Love, revealing itself in the many acts of kindness and solidarity, in the many moments of the magical and miraculous. And in the silence, Love also whispered: Believe. Trust. In yourself and others. Make every step your prayer for peace, every breath your inspiration for new thought. You never walk alone.
I came across an article today called Gandhi’s Prayer (for Syria), which began: “Gandhi was once given a seemingly impossible scenario: what would he do if a plane were flying over his ashram to bomb him? He rose to the challenge with an equally challenging answer: he would pray for the pilot.” The author goes on to articulate how Gandhi’s call to prayer was consistent with his vision of non-violent strategy. The full article is here:
No matter how we pray, no matter how we choose to walk the inner planes towards peace, love, compassion (yes, even for those we judge as being vile and unworthy of it), it is by doing so that we write the story of the world in which we choose to live.